Paul delivered a bold but sensitive speech in his defense before the hostile crowd. They had angrily
complained that his teachings were damaging to Judaism for he spoke against the law and the temple. So Paul stressed his Jewish birth, upbringing and faith. He spoke of his training in the Law under Gamaliel maintaining that his devotion to the Lord was indisputable. He then told them how he was so zealous for the Law that He had persecuted the Christians, but the Lord had stopped him. He asserted that his conversion was a result of divine intervention. Thus some years later when the Lord told him to go to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, he could not argue with Him.
Paul was cut short by the crowd who demanded he be put to death. They felt that what he had done by going to the Gentiles was an abomination before the Lord. Converting Gentiles into Jews was acceptable but converting them to Christianity without making them observe the Law was not. Such an action put Jews and Gentiles on an equal level before God. It indicated that salvation and righteousness came not from the Law but through faith in Christ. This major assault on their worldview threatened their whole way of life. Fortunately Paul was protected by the Roman soldiers.
When people today hear of salvation by faith in Christ alone and not by works, it can be very disconcerting to them. Most people like to think they are in control of their own destiny. They think they can earn their way to heaven or eternal tranquility by their own works and deeds. They set up their own systems of principles, values and laws and attempt to live by them. Yet no one can live up perfectly even to their own standards! Nevertheless, when confronted by the free gift of grace offered by Christ, they reject it. Some think it is too good to be true but most do not want to give up control of their lives to someone else, no matter how benevolent.